The life of Paul reads like an adventure story. Shipwrecks, mobs, confrontations with authorities, miracles, imprisonments, beatings, and more near-death moments than most of us can imagine. It’s natural for kids to be drawn to the story of this bold man of God. But a part of his story that is equally important for kids to understand is that through all the ups and downs – and there were many of them – Paul kept his eyes on the finish line. In 1 Corinthians 9:24-26, he challenges, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly . . .” (NIV).
Kids understand at an early age that some jobs are easier and more fun to do than others. They also learn early that the more they give into distractions, the longer and harder the unpleasant jobs become. Help them see, through the story of Paul, that we are each called to live our lives knowing that one day, we will meet Jesus face to face, and that we should do all that He calls us to do now, before we run out of time.